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New York Times (May 6) reports that Mike Rogers (Mich.), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman decided to leave the House for a media gig as the radio host of Cumulus under the title, “Radio killed the political star.” It comments:

Traditionally, when a fed-up congressman decided to step aside, it was for a more sober, public-minded and highly respected pursuit, like lobbying. Even when politicians have joined the talking-head-and-flapping-gums sector, there is usually an intermediate step. Joe Scarborough, for instance, left the House in 2001 and practiced law for a few years before winding up at MSNBC. Now his breakfast nook of a broadcast, “Morning Joe" is a far more potent brand than he ever was as just one of 435 members of the U.S. Congress.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/magazine/radio-killed-the-political-star.html?hp&_r=0

What does “talking-head-and-flapping-gums” mean? Additionally, what does “breakfast nook” mean? Is it a “morning variety” slot?

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Talking head = Person on TV who presents a programme or appears as a guest to discuss some subject or deliver their opinions.

"He's flapping his gums" = A colloquial and dismissive way of saying "He's talking" (with the implication that it's probably trivial or not worth hearing for some other reason).

So the talking-head-and-flapping-gums sector presumably means the kind of TV environment that is typically populated by presenters and pundits.

Breakfast nook = Literally, an alcove with (often) a bench seat and a table (usually found in open-plan kitchen/dining rooms).

I assume that a breakfast nook of a broadcast means "a cosy sort of TV programme designed to keep you company while you have breakfast". It's hard to be certain what the writer meant by it, because it's not a usual expression.

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  • After seeing your answer, I checked online dictionaries and found that the ‘flap one’s gums is defined as (Rural) to talk aimlessly in Free dictionary, and (idiomatic, colloquial, US) to speak idly; to talk without effect in Wikipedia. It’s a new learning. Thanks. – Yoichi Oishi May 7 '14 at 20:16
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In the context of the passage, I take "Breakfast nook of a broadcast" to mean the early morning section of television programming which this specific host has made his own. Breakfast represents the regular, scheduled early morning televsion time slot which usually contains light news programming. It seems the subject has generated a large fan base within the general public where his views can be aired more openly.

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